You’ve probably heard phrases like making the most of going digital, handling events, affiliated marketing, event management, or project management floating around. While these terms may seem like typical trendy business language, project management is much more than that.
Event planning is an exciting but complex undertaking that involves numerous moving parts and stakeholders. Whether you are organizing a conference, trade show, or product launch, the ultimate goal is to create an experience that delivers a return on investment (ROI) for all involved parties.
However, achieving a high ROI requires effective project management that can help you streamline processes, manage resources, and measure outcomes.
In this article, we will explore the key elements of maximizing ROI in event planning through effective project management.
Understanding the event planning process
Before diving into project management techniques, it’s crucial to understand the stages of event planning and how they impact ROI. The following stages are common in most event-planning processes:
- Goal Setting: Define the purpose of the event, its objectives, and its target audience.
- Planning: Develop a project plan that includes timelines, budgets, and resource allocation.
- Execution: Coordinate with all aspects of the event, including logistics, marketing, and communication.
- Evaluation: Measure the success of the event, gather feedback, and identify areas for improvement.
Each stage of the event planning process requires different skills and resources, and effective project management is essential for ensuring that everything stays on track.
Why you should leverage project management?
It’s common thing for organizations to overlook the use of standardized project management practices, especially when it comes to implementing them consistently throughout the entire company.
Why are countless businesses, from small startups to well-known companies, missing out on potential profits and outcomes by neglecting event management and project management?
There will always be a group in the business realm that resists change. And then there are those who are unaware of the benefits of project management or need a little more convincing.
If you haven’t dabbled in project management and event management to handle your projects and events, here are some cool facts on project management you should know.
- Only 58% of organizations fully understand the value of project management.
- 93% of organizations report using standardized project management practices.
And these companies are enjoying the benefits of event management by following the project management best practices to generate good business.
Benefits of Project Management
When you bring project management into the mix to organize your events, you’ll experience these awesome direct perks.
1. Saves money
Incorporating project management concepts really pays off. Businesses that embrace these tried-and-true principles end up wasting a whopping 28 times less money compared to those that don’t. And guess what?
This trend holds true across all industries, business types, and sizes. Just in the U.S., for every billion dollars invested in new projects, a staggering $122 million goes down the drain due to subpar project performance.
2. Ensures seamless communication
Whether a project sinks or swims often comes down to how well the team communicates. When there’s no solid project management structure in place, communication becomes clunky and ineffective.
A whopping 52% of businesses believe that project management has the greatest impact on team communication. It’s time to get everyone on the same page and start the conversation flowing!
3. Improves accountability
When it comes to project management, it’s all about keeping team members in check. By setting realistic and measurable goals for stakeholders, project management ensures that everyone stays on track and consistently delivers top-notch work.
It’s crucial to maintain focus because, believe it or not, 11% of project failures are caused by team members procrastinating. And, with 42% of American workers admitting to feeling less motivated while working from home, the risk of distractions and team members losing has never been more real.
4. Identifies risks
Starting a new project is like venturing into the unknown. You never know what risks lie ahead. Losing a valuable team member, facing sudden competition, or even getting hit by a global pandemic that turns the world upside down (we’ve seen it happen!).
It’s no wonder that 27% of projects crash and burn due to unforeseen risks. But here’s the good news: with project management tactics, you can steer clear of the danger zone. Let’s keep those risks in check and make sure your project stays on the path to success.
Strategies to Increase ROI with project management
Here are some tried-and-tested strategies shared by seasoned event planning experts. Consider these words of wisdom as just the beginning of a treasure trove of insights. With their guidance, you can kickstart your investment in event management software and unlock its full potential.
1. Align goals
Marketing events require collaboration among different departments within an organization. This involves planning, organizing, and strategizing. It’s essential to bring all the team members together to optimize resources and spending and maximize lead quality and opportunities.
To better understand attendees, registration details can go beyond basic contact information to indicate their level of interest. Gathering data on session interest, product interest, and onsite participation enhances prospect understanding and customer profiles.
During events, representatives can gather valuable data by asking qualifying questions alongside scanning attendee badges. This data is useful for future purposes.
To ensure alignment with long-term business objectives, marketers, event organizers, and sales reps should work together and maintain a consistent lead generation strategy. A centralized platform promotes transparency and supports all stakeholders throughout the process.
Many times it gets difficult to drill down a solid strategy to promote your event. To streamline your promotion, refer to this event marketing guide to help you make informed decisions for your campaigns.
2. Unleash the potential of technology
Events are a major investment for marketing organizations, both in terms of budget and effort. Thankfully, technology has stepped in to make our lives easier.
With event management solutions, companies can streamline the process, cutting costs by 20-30% and boosting attendance by up to 20% (as reported by Frost and Sullivan).
It’s no wonder event management solutions have become a game-changer for event organizers, significantly reducing expenses.
Real-life case studies have showcased remarkable results from companies using event management solutions. They’ve experienced an incredible 250% increase in registrations, doubled participation rates, and saved 10-20 hours per event. Some have even saved a staggering 72 hours on event registration alone.
Similar to marketing automation tools, a reputed event ticketing solution should also be an essential part of every marketer’s toolkit. They have the potential to revolutionize event planning and drive success.
Without visibility of the impact of marketing on ticket sales, measuring ROI becomes difficult. While the strategies we discussed earlier get you closer to achieving impressive event ROI, there’s one strategy that takes it to the next level: integrating event management solutions with marketing automation and CRM systems.
By making these integrations happen, marketing organizations can:
- Develop a complete profile of event attendees, delivering personalized and relevant experiences that speed up the buying process.
- Strengthen the bond between marketing and sales by capturing and scoring leads on-site and automatically including them in follow-up campaigns.
- Incorporate valuable event data into existing systems, gaining powerful insights into the impact of events on key behaviors.
- Connect event investments to the revenue cycle, allowing for better comparisons with other marketing channels.
So, by integrating event management solutions with your current tools, you’ll turbocharge your event marketing efforts and unlock the full potential of your ROI. It’s time to join forces and elevate your events to new heights!
Project management techniques for maximizing ROI
Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals and objectives. In the context of event planning, effective project management can help you stay within budget, deliver the event on time, and achieve your ROI targets.
Here are some techniques for effective project management in event planning:
Creating a project plan and timeline
A project plan outlines the scope, objectives, timelines, and resources required for the event. A timeline sets milestones and deadlines for each stage of the planning process, ensuring that everything stays on track.
1. Budgeting and resource allocation
Creating a budget that covers all expenses, including venue, catering, marketing, and staffing, is essential for staying within financial constraints. Resource allocation involves assigning tasks and responsibilities to the appropriate team members, suppliers, and vendors.
2. Risk management and contingency planning
Every event is subject to risks, such as weather disruptions, technical glitches, or cancellations. Having a risk management plan in place can help you mitigate these risks and develop contingency plans to ensure the event’s success.
3. Communication and collaboration among team members and stakeholders
Effective communication is critical for ensuring that everyone involved in the event is aware of their responsibilities, timelines, and expectations. Collaboration fosters teamwork and encourages the sharing of ideas and best practices.
You can leverage tools like Nifty that comes with built-in communication feature.
Key performance indicators for measuring ROI in event planning
Measuring ROI is an essential part of event planning, as it provides insights into the event’s effectiveness and helps identify areas for improvement. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics used to measure the success of an event.
Here are some KPIs for measuring ROI in event planning:
a.) Quantitative KPIs
These include revenue, attendance, ticket sales, customer satisfaction, and other metrics that can be measured numerically.
For instance, if you are organizing an event, these are some key performance indicators (KPIs) you should keep an eye on:
Event Registration: One of the most crucial and straightforward metrics to gauge the success of an event even before it kicks off: is registration or ticket sales. Whether your event is free or paid, the number of registrations or tickets sold is a quantitative indicator that can speak volumes about its potential success.
When evaluating this key performance indicator, there are some quantitative questions you should be asking yourself:
- Am I meeting the expected number of event registrations? Is the response from attendees in line with my goals and expectations?
- Am I achieving the desired sales value through ticket selling? Are the ticket sales generating the revenue I anticipated for this event?
Sales/Leads generated: When it comes to measuring the success of an event, the sales or leads generated are a crucial KPI. Depending on the type of event, this metric can be viewed in different ways. For instance, if it’s a trade show, you may focus on sales-qualified leads or actual sales.
On the other hand, for a job fair, the number of job applications submitted by attendees would be an important factor to consider.
When evaluating this KPI, it’s important to delve into the “how” and “why” behind the numbers. Several variables can influence the outcome:
- Did the event location attract your target audience effectively?
- Were exhibitors able to attract more qualified leads compared to others?
- Did exhibitors actively engage with visitors and create brand activation opportunities with incentives or rewards?
b.) Qualitative KPIs
These include brand awareness, engagement, social media buzz, and other metrics that are more difficult to measure but provide insights into the event’s impact.
Using data analytics to measure ROI and make data-driven decisions is becoming increasingly important in event planning. Collecting and analyzing data can help you identify trends, patterns, and opportunities for improvement, which can inform future event planning decisions.
Continuing with our previous example of an event, let’s dive into another essential key performance indicator
Participation rate: This metric compares the total number of check-ins with the total number of registrations, giving you a clear picture of how many registered attendees actually showed up for the event.
To increase participation and engagement, here are two communication ideas you can implement leading up to the event:
Send Reminder Emails: Keep attendees informed and excited by sending out reminder emails as the event approaches. This serves as a friendly nudge, ensuring that registered participants remember to attend and don’t miss out on the valuable experience you have planned.
Unveil the Event Program Gradually: Create anticipation by gradually unveiling the event program. Instead of revealing everything at once, release snippets of the program as engaging content. This not only builds excitement but also provides valuable insights into what attendees can expect, encouraging them to mark their calendars and prioritize your event.
Engagement Rate: Having the right event management platform is crucial for engaging event attendees effectively. It offers a wide range of digital tools and tactics to enhance attendee engagement. One powerful tool is live polling, which gathers valuable feedback on aspects like speaker content, providing insights for both current and future events.
By measuring the engagement rate of your event tools, you can identify the sessions that resonated the most, enabling you to create more captivating sessions and ensuring active attendee participation throughout the event.
With the right tools and insights, you can create an event experience that leaves attendees wanting more, guaranteeing the success of your current event and setting the stage for the growth and success of future events.
Best practices for effective project management in event planning
Here are some best practices for effective project management in event planning:
1. Hiring a professional event planner or project manager
If you are new to event planning or have a complex event, consider hiring a professional event planner or project manager. They have the expertise, resources, and networks to manage all aspects of the event and maximize ROI.
2. Using technology and software tools for project management
There are numerous software tools and platforms that can help you manage tasks, budgets, timelines, and communication, such as Nifty, Asana, Trello, or Slack. Not just for communication, but you can also use platforms like AllEvents for managing & selling event tickets, collecting payments from ticket sales, promoting your event, and more.
Technology can streamline processes and improve collaboration among team members and stakeholders.
3. Building a strong team and fostering a collaborative culture
Event planning requires teamwork and collaboration, so building a team with diverse skills and expertise is essential. Fostering a collaborative culture that encourages open communication, feedback, and learning can help the team work together more effectively.
4. Continuously learning and improving through post-event evaluation and feedback
Post-event evaluation and feedback are critical for improving future events and maximizing ROI. Collecting feedback from attendees, stakeholders, and team members can provide valuable insights into what worked well and what could be improved for future events.
Maximizing ROI in event planning requires effective project management that can help you streamline processes, manage resources, and measure outcomes.
Understanding the stages of event planning, using project management techniques, measuring KPIs, and following best practices can help you achieve your ROI targets and deliver a successful event.
By continuously learning and improving, you can develop a reputation as an effective event planner and deliver exceptional experiences that create value for all involved parties.
Ready to show the positive ROI of event planning to your management folks? Take the first step & sign up for Nifty!